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Why MySpace is the Next GeoCities

  • GigaOm, Monday, May 4, 2009 11:15 AM
"It was unkind irony that just as MySpace was reshuffling its leadership with the hope of reviving its fortunes, Yahoo quietly announced the end of GeoCities," says GigaOm's Kevin Kelleher. Indeed, according to Kelleher, MySpace is, in fact, GeoCities 2.0. "Like GeoCities, MySpace sold out to a bigger media company that ended up a caretaker for its long years of decay. And now MySpace is slowly becoming, like GeoCities, an abandoned amusement park on the Web," Kelleher says.

So, can newly-named MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta keep it from becoming GeoCities 2.0? Kelleher, for one, thinks it unlikley, since this would mean "undoing fateful decisions that MySpace made several years ago, decisions that made good sense at the time but have since been draining vitality from the company." What decisions are these? Namely, filling the social network with features--blogs, videos, news and mp3s. At first, these were cool innovations, and people went wild with them. But now, they've created a longer term problem, says Kelleher, as the site is now "littered with garish profiles." Meanwhile, giants like Google, Amazon and Apple understand that "simplicity and elegance" work best. So does Facebook, which recently surpassed MySpace as the No. 1 social network in the U.S.

Perhaps a bigger misstep on the part of MySpace was selling out to News Corp., Kelleher says. "Under News Corp., MySpace changed from a company that sought out new ideas from its users to one that was deaf to their interests, preferring to corral them into seeing as many ads as possible." It also lost its roots, which were built around music, choosing instead to try to be all things to all people. But, as Kelleher says, "there is really only room for one such portal at a time, and right now it's Facebook."

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